Our staff's commitment to you

Our staff is committed to providing support, compassion, information, and direction as needed to all members of our community, their families, and friends who are dealing with loss and grief.

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Billy Butcher, CFSP Funeral Director/Embalmer/Owner Billy@BlackburnandWard.com

Billy Butcher, CFSP, Funeral Director, Embalmer, and Owner of Blackburn and Ward Funeral Home, was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky. He is the youngest son of Charles and Becky Butcher. Billy is a graduate of Lafayette High School and Mid-America College of Funeral Service. With nearly 30 years of experience in funeral service, he spent the previous 11 years as the General Manager of Kentucky Mortuary Service before coming to Blackburn & Ward. Billy is a former Central District Director for the  Funeral Directors Association of Kentucky where he served on several committees for the Funeral Directors Association of Kentucky. Billy is the proud father of Caitlyn Butcher and stepfather of Annabel and Ellie Lewis. He enjoys spending time on the sidelines of the soccer fields, skiing, and hunting on the farm with his family. 

On January 1, 2017, Billy and Leigh Ann Butcher became the sole owners and operators of Blackburn and Ward. In November of 2021, Billy and Leigh Ann expanded their tradition of caring with the purchase of Tucker, Yocum & Wilson Funeral Home of Georgetown. Today they are proud to be a part of both Woodford and Scott Counties communities and are proud to serve families all throughout central Kentucky. 

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Leigh Ann Butcher, CFSP Funeral Director/Embalmer/Owner LeighAnn@BlackburnandWard.com

Leigh Ann Butcher is a licensed funeral director, embalmer, and certified crematory operator. Leigh Ann was born and raised in Grayson, Kentucky. She is the youngest daughter of Gary Dickerson and Gwen Sparks Dickerson. Leigh Ann is a graduate of East Carter High School, Morehead State University, and Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. For over 15 years Leigh Ann has worked as a funeral director, embalmer, and crematory operator. Leigh Ann is the proud mother of two young daughters, Annabel Lee Lewis and Eleanor "Ellie" Kay Lewis, and proud stepmother of Caitlyn Butcher. On January 1, 2017, Billy and Leigh Ann Butcher became the sole owners and operators of Blackburn and Ward. In November of 2021, Billy and Leigh Ann expanded their tradition of caring with the purchase of Tucker, Yocum & Wilson Funeral Home of Georgetown. Today they are proud to be a part of both Woodford and Scott Counties communities and are proud to serve families all throughout central Kentucky. 

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Penny Baker Funeral Director/Pre-Need Manager/Monument Sales PBaker@BlackburnandWard.com

Penny Baker, licensed funeral director, has been a dedicated employee of the funeral home for over 25 years. She is the proud mother of two sons, Justin (Savannah) and Austin (Colby), and the widow of the late Kim Baker. She is also the proud grandmother to Zoey and Grant. Penny was born and raised in Woodford County. She is the daughter of Mary Ann Bowman Slatten and the late Billy Slatten. In addition to being a licensed funeral director, she is also licensed to sell pre-need burial insurance. Penny is available to assist families with purchasing grave markers and headstones also. Following the 2022 fall election, Penny was elected as Woodford County's first female coroner and she has extended her care and compassion in her newly elected office as well. 

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Gary Finnell Associate

Gary Finnell has been a vital employee of Blackburn & Ward Funeral Home for over 40 years. Gary assists with visitations and funeral services and maintains a dedication to serving families with a friendly warm greeting. Gary is most often visible at our parking lot door, greeting those who call during visitations. Gary is a member of the Versailles Baptist Church, a past Master and member of the F&AM Landmark Lodge #41, a former Woodford County Magistrate, and a former volunteer for the Versailles Fire Department. Gary is married to Linda G. Finnell and is the father of Carrie Finnell (Brian) Spellman and Gina Finnell (Travis) Ziegler, and has two granddaughters and two grandsons.

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Debbie Wade Office Manager/Bookkeeper debbie@blackburnandward.com

Debbie Wade joined Blackburn and Ward Funeral Home in January 2022 as its Secretary/Bookkeeper. Debbie has over 30 years of experience in administration and clerical work from working for Yokohama Industries and NSG.  She grew up in Harrison County and graduated from Midway College.  Debbie is married to Rick, and they have one daughter named Taylor. Debbie enjoys time with her family. She also enjoys reading historical books about the Bluegrass and mystery novels. 

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Jennifer Lester Funeral Director Apprentice

Jennifer Lester joined the staff as an associate at Blackburn and Ward in August of 2023. She has been married to Tim Lester for 4 years. Jennifer has 2 grown children, Macy Allen and Landon (Kirsten) Allen.

Jennifer holds degrees from UK and WKU with an undergrad in business education, masters in vocational education, a masters in library media education, and an educational specialist post graduate degree. She retired from the Paris City School system after serving for 27 years.

Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, as well as working in her garden and creating floral designs, event planning, reading, and playing with her dogs.

Jennifer is a member of Forks of Elkhorn Baptist church and serves as the sound technician there.

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Ailee Yocum Funeral Director & Embalmer Apprentice

Ailee Yocum joined Blackburn and Ward in February 2024. She is in her second year apprenticeship at Mid-America where she is working on being an embalmer and funeral home director. Ailee was born and raised in Harrodsburg and graduated from Mercer County High School. She enjoys thrifting, concerts, and hanging out with her dog. We are glad to have Ailee working with us to serve the families of Woodford County and the surrounding areas.

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Kelly McEuen Funeral Director Apprentice

Kelly McEuen joined Blackburn and Ward in January 2023. As an associate and pre-planning specialist, he is honored to provide care and support for each family’s needs. Kelly has made Georgetown his home since 1988. Born and raised in Princeton, Kentucky, he spent the past 35 years mostly as a teacher and educational leader. He spent the early part of his career preparing for and living in Japan as a representative of Georgetown and Georgetown College. Kelly’s passions include downtown living, travel, learning languages, listening to and playing music, and being a great Dad and “Gichan”. He married his college classmate Megan Forman Miller in 2004. They have four children and the third grandchild is on the way.

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Derrick Sumerel Associate derrick@blackburnandward.com

Derrick joined the Blackburn and Ward staff in May 2023. He assists with funerals, guides families with any pre-need arrangements they need to make, as well as helps around the office and provides tech/online support. Derrick grew up in Alabama. He went to Heritage Christian University where he received a bachelor’s degree in Bible. He is currently completing his master’s degree in ministry at Freed-Hardeman University. Derrick has been serving as the minister for the Versailles Church of Christ for 9 years. He and his wife, Heather, have three beautiful children: Olivia, Henry, and Spencer. Derrick enjoys serving the church and looks forward to serving the community as part of Blackburn and Ward.

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Chase Thomas Funeral Director & Embalmer Apprentice Chase@blackburnandward.com

Chase joined the staff at Blackburn and Ward in the Spring of 2023 and in March 2024 transitioned to a full-time Funeral Director & Embalmer Apprentice.  Chase and his wife Mae have three children: Kaleb, Mary Elizabeth, and Jackson.  Chase formerly served as a career firefighter with the Versailles Fire Department. He now works as a part-time EMT with Woodford County EMS and serves as a Deputy Coroner with the Woodford County Coroner’s Office.  Chase and Mae share a passion for service to Pinckard Baptist Church.  He and Mae enjoy spending their free time supporting their children’s sporting activities (High school golf, High school track, and WYSA soccer) as well as camping and beach trips.  Chase looks forward to serving the families at Blackburn and Ward.

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Steve Franklin Associate

Steve Franklin is a Woodford County High School Graduate, a Veteran of the United States Army, and holds an associate degree from the Kentucky School of Business. Steve is retired from Sylvania and is a Certified Crematory Operator. Steve was happily married for 57 years to the late Anna Elizabeth Parrish Franklin. He is the proud father of three sons and has nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Steve assists with visitations, funeral services, and cremations. Steve is dedicated to serving families with dignity and compassion. 

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Charles Butcher Associate

Charles Butcher joined Blackburn and Ward as an associate in 2023. He graduated high school from St. Agatha Academy in 1957. Charles received his undergraduate degree in secondary education and a Masters in School Administration from the University of Kentucky. He worked for the Fayette County School Board for 36 years. Charles was married to the late Rebecca Butcher for 61 years. They have two sons and five grandchildren. In his free time, Charles enjoys buying and selling antiques. We are thankful to have Charles be part of the staff at Blackburn and Ward.

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Refugio Ramirez Property Manager

Refugio Ramirez joined the family of Blackburn and Ward in October of 2023. Mr. Ramirez manages the grounds and takes care of the building for Blackburn and Ward. Refugio is married to Becky and they have four children. He retired from Shadwell Farms. Refugio enjoys watching baseball with his family in his spare time. We are happy to have Mr. R working with us. 

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J. Steve Ward Funeral Director/Embalmer

J. Steve Ward, retired funeral director and former owner of Blackburn & Ward Funeral Home was born in Hazard, Kentucky. The youngest of four sons of the late Hazel Fox Ward and Judge Don A. Ward, Steve and his wife Carol (Tatman) are the parents of one son, Hank (Tracie) Ward, and the grandparents of Peyton Ward. Steve is a graduate of Hazard High School and is an alumnus of the University of Kentucky, Transylvania University, and Eastern Kentucky University. He is a graduate of the Kentucky School of Mortuary Science. He served as the Woodford County Coroner from 1990 to 2011. A funeral director for over 43 years, Steve was the owner of Blackburn & Ward Funeral Home from 1989-2017. He was an employee of the firm for 12 years prior to purchasing the firm from his predecessor, Leslie J. Blackburn. Steve and Carol enjoy spending time at their Florida home and traveling. 

Billy Butcher, CFSP

Funeral Director/Embalmer/Owner
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Billy Butcher, CFSP, Funeral Director, Embalmer, and Owner of Blackburn and Ward Funeral Home, was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky. He is the youngest son of Charles and Becky Butcher. Billy is a graduate of Lafayette High School and Mid-America College of Funeral Service. With nearly 30 years of experience in funeral service, he spent the previous 11 years as the General Manager of Kentucky Mortuary Service before coming to Blackburn & Ward. Billy is a former Central District Director for the  Funeral Directors Association of Kentucky where he served on several committees for the Funeral Directors Association of Kentucky. Billy is the proud father of Caitlyn Butcher and stepfather of Annabel and Ellie Lewis. He enjoys spending time on the sidelines of the soccer fields, skiing, and hunting on the farm with his family. 

On January 1, 2017, Billy and Leigh Ann Butcher became the sole owners and operators of Blackburn and Ward. In November of 2021, Billy and Leigh Ann expanded their tradition of caring with the purchase of Tucker, Yocum & Wilson Funeral Home of Georgetown. Today they are proud to be a part of both Woodford and Scott Counties communities and are proud to serve families all throughout central Kentucky. 

Leigh Ann Butcher, CFSP

Funeral Director/Embalmer/Owner
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Leigh Ann Butcher is a licensed funeral director, embalmer, and certified crematory operator. Leigh Ann was born and raised in Grayson, Kentucky. She is the youngest daughter of Gary Dickerson and Gwen Sparks Dickerson. Leigh Ann is a graduate of East Carter High School, Morehead State University, and Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. For over 15 years Leigh Ann has worked as a funeral director, embalmer, and crematory operator. Leigh Ann is the proud mother of two young daughters, Annabel Lee Lewis and Eleanor "Ellie" Kay Lewis, and proud stepmother of Caitlyn Butcher. On January 1, 2017, Billy and Leigh Ann Butcher became the sole owners and operators of Blackburn and Ward. In November of 2021, Billy and Leigh Ann expanded their tradition of caring with the purchase of Tucker, Yocum & Wilson Funeral Home of Georgetown. Today they are proud to be a part of both Woodford and Scott Counties communities and are proud to serve families all throughout central Kentucky. 

Penny Baker

Funeral Director/Pre-Need Manager/Monument Sales
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Penny Baker, licensed funeral director, has been a dedicated employee of the funeral home for over 25 years. She is the proud mother of two sons, Justin (Savannah) and Austin (Colby), and the widow of the late Kim Baker. She is also the proud grandmother to Zoey and Grant. Penny was born and raised in Woodford County. She is the daughter of Mary Ann Bowman Slatten and the late Billy Slatten. In addition to being a licensed funeral director, she is also licensed to sell pre-need burial insurance. Penny is available to assist families with purchasing grave markers and headstones also. Following the 2022 fall election, Penny was elected as Woodford County's first female coroner and she has extended her care and compassion in her newly elected office as well. 

Gary Finnell

Associate
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Gary Finnell has been a vital employee of Blackburn & Ward Funeral Home for over 40 years. Gary assists with visitations and funeral services and maintains a dedication to serving families with a friendly warm greeting. Gary is most often visible at our parking lot door, greeting those who call during visitations. Gary is a member of the Versailles Baptist Church, a past Master and member of the F&AM Landmark Lodge #41, a former Woodford County Magistrate, and a former volunteer for the Versailles Fire Department. Gary is married to Linda G. Finnell and is the father of Carrie Finnell (Brian) Spellman and Gina Finnell (Travis) Ziegler, and has two granddaughters and two grandsons.

Debbie Wade

Office Manager/Bookkeeper
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Debbie Wade joined Blackburn and Ward Funeral Home in January 2022 as its Secretary/Bookkeeper. Debbie has over 30 years of experience in administration and clerical work from working for Yokohama Industries and NSG.  She grew up in Harrison County and graduated from Midway College.  Debbie is married to Rick, and they have one daughter named Taylor. Debbie enjoys time with her family. She also enjoys reading historical books about the Bluegrass and mystery novels. 

Jennifer Lester

Funeral Director Apprentice
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Jennifer Lester joined the staff as an associate at Blackburn and Ward in August of 2023. She has been married to Tim Lester for 4 years. Jennifer has 2 grown children, Macy Allen and Landon (Kirsten) Allen.

Jennifer holds degrees from UK and WKU with an undergrad in business education, masters in vocational education, a masters in library media education, and an educational specialist post graduate degree. She retired from the Paris City School system after serving for 27 years.

Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, as well as working in her garden and creating floral designs, event planning, reading, and playing with her dogs.

Jennifer is a member of Forks of Elkhorn Baptist church and serves as the sound technician there.

Ailee Yocum

Funeral Director & Embalmer Apprentice
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Ailee Yocum joined Blackburn and Ward in February 2024. She is in her second year apprenticeship at Mid-America where she is working on being an embalmer and funeral home director. Ailee was born and raised in Harrodsburg and graduated from Mercer County High School. She enjoys thrifting, concerts, and hanging out with her dog. We are glad to have Ailee working with us to serve the families of Woodford County and the surrounding areas.

Kelly McEuen

Funeral Director Apprentice
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Kelly McEuen joined Blackburn and Ward in January 2023. As an associate and pre-planning specialist, he is honored to provide care and support for each family’s needs. Kelly has made Georgetown his home since 1988. Born and raised in Princeton, Kentucky, he spent the past 35 years mostly as a teacher and educational leader. He spent the early part of his career preparing for and living in Japan as a representative of Georgetown and Georgetown College. Kelly’s passions include downtown living, travel, learning languages, listening to and playing music, and being a great Dad and “Gichan”. He married his college classmate Megan Forman Miller in 2004. They have four children and the third grandchild is on the way.

Derrick Sumerel

Associate
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Derrick joined the Blackburn and Ward staff in May 2023. He assists with funerals, guides families with any pre-need arrangements they need to make, as well as helps around the office and provides tech/online support. Derrick grew up in Alabama. He went to Heritage Christian University where he received a bachelor’s degree in Bible. He is currently completing his master’s degree in ministry at Freed-Hardeman University. Derrick has been serving as the minister for the Versailles Church of Christ for 9 years. He and his wife, Heather, have three beautiful children: Olivia, Henry, and Spencer. Derrick enjoys serving the church and looks forward to serving the community as part of Blackburn and Ward.

Chase Thomas

Funeral Director & Embalmer Apprentice
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Chase joined the staff at Blackburn and Ward in the Spring of 2023 and in March 2024 transitioned to a full-time Funeral Director & Embalmer Apprentice.  Chase and his wife Mae have three children: Kaleb, Mary Elizabeth, and Jackson.  Chase formerly served as a career firefighter with the Versailles Fire Department. He now works as a part-time EMT with Woodford County EMS and serves as a Deputy Coroner with the Woodford County Coroner’s Office.  Chase and Mae share a passion for service to Pinckard Baptist Church.  He and Mae enjoy spending their free time supporting their children’s sporting activities (High school golf, High school track, and WYSA soccer) as well as camping and beach trips.  Chase looks forward to serving the families at Blackburn and Ward.

Steve Franklin

Associate
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Steve Franklin is a Woodford County High School Graduate, a Veteran of the United States Army, and holds an associate degree from the Kentucky School of Business. Steve is retired from Sylvania and is a Certified Crematory Operator. Steve was happily married for 57 years to the late Anna Elizabeth Parrish Franklin. He is the proud father of three sons and has nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Steve assists with visitations, funeral services, and cremations. Steve is dedicated to serving families with dignity and compassion. 

Charles Butcher

Associate
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Charles Butcher joined Blackburn and Ward as an associate in 2023. He graduated high school from St. Agatha Academy in 1957. Charles received his undergraduate degree in secondary education and a Masters in School Administration from the University of Kentucky. He worked for the Fayette County School Board for 36 years. Charles was married to the late Rebecca Butcher for 61 years. They have two sons and five grandchildren. In his free time, Charles enjoys buying and selling antiques. We are thankful to have Charles be part of the staff at Blackburn and Ward.

Refugio Ramirez

Property Manager
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Refugio Ramirez joined the family of Blackburn and Ward in October of 2023. Mr. Ramirez manages the grounds and takes care of the building for Blackburn and Ward. Refugio is married to Becky and they have four children. He retired from Shadwell Farms. Refugio enjoys watching baseball with his family in his spare time. We are happy to have Mr. R working with us. 

J. Steve Ward

Funeral Director/Embalmer
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J. Steve Ward, retired funeral director and former owner of Blackburn & Ward Funeral Home was born in Hazard, Kentucky. The youngest of four sons of the late Hazel Fox Ward and Judge Don A. Ward, Steve and his wife Carol (Tatman) are the parents of one son, Hank (Tracie) Ward, and the grandparents of Peyton Ward. Steve is a graduate of Hazard High School and is an alumnus of the University of Kentucky, Transylvania University, and Eastern Kentucky University. He is a graduate of the Kentucky School of Mortuary Science. He served as the Woodford County Coroner from 1990 to 2011. A funeral director for over 43 years, Steve was the owner of Blackburn & Ward Funeral Home from 1989-2017. He was an employee of the firm for 12 years prior to purchasing the firm from his predecessor, Leslie J. Blackburn. Steve and Carol enjoy spending time at their Florida home and traveling.